In the Midst of Busy

Hello Everyone! 

What is it you need most in the midst of your busy, hectic day? Endurance? Perseverance? Courage? Could it be a power prayer?

Words have power. The Word of God is power. Praying God's Word helps you...

...love without boundaries.

...incapacitate the enemy.

...scatter fears.

...de-escalate anxiety.

...activate self-control.

...heal a wound.

...bolster hope.

...inspire.

...motivate.

...encourage.

In John 16:24, Jesus tells us to ask for what we need. There are no prerequisites. No request is too insignificant or unimportant. Tap into God's vast resources. You can bring your best to whatever you do by including Him in it.

I discovered the power of praying Scripture while reading Beth Moore’s book, Praying God’s Word. I began to use verses in my prayers giving my requests a meaningful focus.

In the Middle of Busy Feb 2019I wrote the prayer called Free (above) using verses 1 John 3:19-20 and Romans 8:1. I speak this prayer when disappointment in my sinful nature turns into self-condemnation. Self-condemnation is a spiritual barrier. It prevents me from receiving God’s mercy and grace and it's an invitation for the enemy to aid my self-loathing.

Balance must be re-established.

My Free prayer rejects self-condemnation, proclaims my freedom, and reminds me God is for me. The power of this prayer is in its Truth. Self-condemnation is the equivalent of clasping shackles on my hands and feet. Sin, past or present, has no hold on me. My response to sin is simple: Pray God’s Word. It is my strength.

In the midst of busy, consider taking 20 to 30 seconds to include God. If it's a meeting, ask God for focus. If it's a project, ask God for inspiration and success. If it's a crucial conversation, ask God to direct your dialogue. Involve God in everything you do from the beginning to the end.

Meet the unexpected with power!

Loss. Change. Spiritual warfare. The unexpected can knock us down. God's Word re-positions us, firmly rooting us in His love, truth, and power. So much is asked of you in any given day. You face nothing alone. Make your need known to Jesus. He waits, ready to provide. 

I created several power-packed prayers comprised of paraphrased Bible verses. These are below. Praying God's Word, as Jesus did in the desert against Satan, releases power. I've attached a printable version of several prayers the size of a business card. Consider laminating and tucking one or more in your wallet or purse.  Download In the Middle of Busy Prayers Feb 2019 

Wisdom Prayer Feb 2019

 

Courage prayer Feb 2019

 

Self-Control Prayer Feb 2019

 

Peace Prayer Feb 2019

 

Prayer Feb 2019

I'm asking God to supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ (Ephesians 3:16). He is true life! My security, your security is found in Him! Find more prayers and inspiration at the Heartsencouraged Facebook Page @TerriHutchinsonAuthor.  Fondly, Terri


Your Hope Story

Hello and welcome dear friends! 

I propose that all of us have a hope story. The root of our hope story is the expectation of Christ’s fulfillment of his promised salvation. This story is filled with anticipation of life with God, our Father. Being reunited with Him, living in His presence, as it was in the days of Eden. We have every reason to hope, keep our courage, and remain confident in our hope in Christ’s promise!

There are other hope stories. Very personal stories living deep in our hearts. Consider this: every time you look to Jesus for help, believe he distinctly hears your voice, and wait confidently for him to act, you are making a declaration of hope.

Jesus said we’d have trouble in this world. That’s a promise I wish wasn’t true. Yet, disaster, crisis, grief, and sorrow reveal the hope held in our soul.

Bible - Hope PicHow appropriate that Jesus proclaimed God’s promises as Good News!

I want to share a bit of my hope story. The last seven months have been tumultuous. In May, my husband and I moved from Ohio to South Carolina. I started a new job. Shortly after our move, my dear sweet pup of 15 years passed away. My heart felt the absence intensely. Then, in August my mother died very unexpectedly and my grief deepened. Doubt about the move and transition tried to take root. Then, September and October brought hurricanes and extreme weather conditions. The stress, anxiety, and grief became insurmountable.

A few days after my mom’s funeral, I went to my writing space to create a post but there was no message inside me. With tears and sorrow, I cried out to God. My bright and burning hope was fast becoming dim and at risk.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

- Martin Luther King Jr.

Spent. Broken. But, not hopeless. I looked to Jesus to fulfill his promise to never leave me or forsake me.

That promise became my lived reality through voices, hugs, tears, and cards. Friends and family came along side. Their care, comfort, and love fanned dying embers of hope into a bright flame once again.  

Never lose hope

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

Hebrews 10:23 NLT

Here's an interesting thing that I've learned. People watch how we respond to the struggle and burden of a difficult circumstance. Why? I think it’s curiosity. They want to see what hope looks like. I wonder if they watch because hope strengthens hope like iron sharpens iron. Your hope story gives the watcher a reason to choose hope.

Choosing to hope in God’s promises gives you resilience and persistence to stand firm in the literal and figurative storms of this earthly life. Your words and attitude declare your reliance on and trust in God's promises.

Hope is your response.

It's your intentional choice.

It's your strength.

Dear friend, you embody a profound and inspiring hope story with or without words. Your hope reveals your firm expectation that God has not, will not, fail you or abandon you. He guides you. God's faithful love comforts, heals, and restores.

Hope declares reliance on and trust in God's promises

The Bible says be ready with an answer when you're asked why you hope. Here are three of God's promises providing a firm foundation on which to build hope.

Hebrews 13.5-6 Hope

Hope - Typepad Image
Isaiah 54 Hope Tyepapd
Which promise of God fans the flame of your hope?

Your hope story is a precious gift to the one who’s hope is in jeopardy. The Lord makes you a beautiful blessing to the one who is searching for hope. We absolutely have reason to hope because God is for us!

Please share your thoughts on hope! And, please share this post to encourage and lift someone's spirit. Check out the Hearts Encouraged FB page, @TerriHutchinsonAuthor. Thanks so much for reading, following, and for your encouragement. Fondly, Terri


Spirit-Bearers, it's the season to give!

Hello and welcome dear friends! For this month’s post, I’ve chosen Elizabeth and Mary's meeting as shared in Luke 1:5-56. Perhaps you'll discover what I did as I read it anew.

Luke1.41Elizabeth and Mary, chosen by God and anointed with the Holy Spirit, were given individual, special assignments by God. Elizabeth would be the mother of John the Baptist. God revealed this news to Mary who traveled to see Elizabeth. When Mary arrived, the Spirit within Elizabeth prompted her to proclaim Mary as the mother of the Son of God. Oh, what an affirming and meaningful greeting to the young mother-to-be!

Let's stop and take a moment to envision the scene so long ago and the gift each woman was to the other. Both women had a personal and profound encounter with the Lord. An event not easily shareable or believable. That it was possible for Mary and Elizabeth to come face to face and share their stories must have been marvelous, reassuring, and encouraging. These Spirit-bearing women were a gift to the other.

Giving 1Can I be a gift?

The Holy Spirit within you activates the gifts God’s deposited in you. You, beloved, are the conduit. You are the gift!

Perhaps, you don’t quite feel like a gift to others. I understand that feeling. Regardless of what we feel or think about ourselves, we can be a blessing to those who cross our life path.

Presents 1The Spirit within you

activates the gifts God’s deposited in you.

Sometimes, we don’t realize the type of intangible gift we have to offer others until they bring it to our attention. For instance, you may hear a friend sharing you’re a strong encourager or a thoughtful listener. This is a blessed affirmation of your gift! These intangible gifts are often the most meaningful and most needed.

We’re in the season emphasizing material gift-giving. Material gifts are fine ways of showing appreciation and love, but I believe our hearts are deeply yearning for the intangibles.

Why?

Daily reports of death, sadness, and trouble dominate the news while fears and worries are rising in tandem. We’re looking for kindness, faith, hope, love, listening, empathy, compassion, sincerity, gentleness, honesty, peace, wisdom, hospitality…. Our souls’ are thirsting for the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit.  Holy SpiritEvery soul can receive the precious comfort administered by the appointed Spirit-Bearer.

Never forget you’re a gift to those who love you. And, you’re a gift to every soul crossing your path. If you tune into the Spirit within you, you’ll sense the prompt and the opportunity. There is a catch, though.

You have to want to give the time.

Giving time

This is where I’ve fallen short. I’m eager for the opportunity until it comes. The problem is time. I’m always on my way to something else when the chance comes for me to gift someone. I can be an excellent listener because I’m trained on how to actively, intentionally listen. But that takes time.

For example, I can’t tell you how often I’ve told someone I’ll pray for them. And, I do. Later.

So, I have to stop at that moment and ask myself, “Terri, are you willing to give the time?”

So, why not stop and pray right then and there? Because I’m on my way to…. Yet, on those occasions when I’ve stopped and prayed, the look of surprise and gratitude clearly indicated they felt the blessing and care.

Giving the time is my issue.

Is there anything keeping you from giving your gifts?

Present 2

 

You, dear Spirit-Bearer, are called to give and to receive. Give as the opportunities arise. Receive to meet your need

Be mindful and receive from others to fill yourself up so you can continue to give. Receiving the gifts from others is as important as giving your gifts. Letting someone bless you with their gifts (material or spiritual) can be a gift in itself!

So, are you eagerly anticipating a God-designed encounter to bless someone with your spiritual gift? Let’s get out there and share the love of Jesus! There’s so many people who need your unique love, comfort, and compassion.

Icon Hearts Encouraged (2) Thank you so much for reading and sharing these posts. Check out the Hearts Encouraged Facebook page - @TerriHutchinsonAuthor.

May the peace of Christ rest upon you! Terri

P.S. If you’re wondering what spiritual gifts you possess, there are several online spiritual gift tests. These can help you identify your spiritual gifts. Explore these if you haven’t done so before. Or, maybe you want more information on the Holy Spirit. You can contact me at heartsencouragedministry@gmail.com or comment below. I only release comments meant for the general public. 


A Gratitude List For Thanksgiving and Beyond

Hello and Welcome!

I can't believe Thanksgiving Day is approaching next month. That came around fast, don't you think? The holiday always prompts me to wonder if I've expressed enough thanks during the rest of the year. Have I expressed it enough to my family, my friends, and to God? When it comes to thanking God, sometimes I hear myself uttering the same phrases over and over. Thanking God with general statements is certainly acceptable, but getting very specific and detailed can be humbling. It brings us to awareness of His intimate involvement in our lives.

In an effort to get very specific, I created a Gratitude A-Z list. This might be a great way to open Thanksgiving festivities or to use as a prompt for your daily time with God. Each letter represents a gratitude focus with an accompanying Bible verse. All verses came from the New Living Translation unless otherwise noted. I hope you find it helpful. I've made this available as a PDF so you can download it.    Download Gratitude A - Z Oct 2018 PDF

By the way, THANK YOU! for reading and for your encouragement. You're a shining star and God's light shines bright from you to the world. Fondly, Terri 

  Poppy-1128683_1920

Answering Your Prayer

Psalm 17:6

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.

 

Blessing you Autumn
Ephesians 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

  Calling to my heart

   Rainbow-509500_1920

 

Delivering you

Psalm 40:1-2

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.... He set my feet on solid ground and steadies me as I walked along.

 

 

Encouraging you

Psalm 138:3

As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me

by giving me strength.

Fall scene 1

 

Lavender-blossom-1595581_1920

Favoring you

Psalm 67:1

May God be merciful and bless us. May His face smile with favor on us.

 

Cross-918459_1920

Gracious provision

Isaiah 30:18 NIV

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.

 

Holiness - making you holy

1 Corinthians 6:11

...you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

 

Butterfly-1127666_1920

  I Am - Isaiah 43.11

  Nature-3054797_1920

Joy of your heart

Psalm 28:7

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

 

Known by God

1 Corinthians 8:3 NIV

But the one who loves God is known by God

 

  Maple-leaves-62799_1920

 

Candle-3508563_1920

Light in the darkness

Psalm 18:28

You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.

 

  Seasons 2

Mercy

Psalm 103:4

He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.

 

Never forgetting, abandoning you

Hebrews 13:5

...for God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you."

  Cliff-1850715_1920

 

Overcoming the world

1 John 5:4-5 NIV

This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

  Fall-foliage-111315_1920

 

River water

Plans for my life

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope...."

 

Quieting

the

Soul

Flower-1739892_1920

Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

heartsencouraged.com

 

Renewing hope - Psalm 94:19
  Hope
When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

 

Strength when you falter  
  Help

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

Psalm 73:26

 

  Harvest

Tears known to God

Psalm 126:5

Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.

 

 Wood with hearts

Unfailing love

Psalm 143:8

Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.

 

Victory over the enemy  Cross and man

But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:57

 

Shade tree

Watching over you

Psalm 121:5

The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.

 

Yearning for You, Lord

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God....

Psalm 42:1-2

Stream-801796_1920

 

Zealous for me

Psalm 91:11

  Storm
For He will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.

 

I hope you found this encouraging and uplifting! Check out the Hearts Encouraged Facebook Page, @TerriHutchinsonAuthor. I'd love to hear from you. Blessings dear friends!

 


Competing Priorities

Hello and Welcome! May you find encouragement and blessings in this post. 

Cardinal-3212663_1920

One Saturday morning, sweet chirps outside my window acted like an alarm and a trigger. Barely awake, my mental To Do List began streaming:

Head to the writing desk no later than 8 am. Finish the current blog post, start the next one. Water the patio plants before the writing or it’ll be forgotten. Weeds in the front bed. Complete before it gets warm so before the writing. Get out of bed right now and you can do it.  

I popped out of bed and scurried to the kitchen for coffee. A stack of dirty dishes caught my eye. I looked at the clock. 6:40. I can get these done before writing, then hit the plants and weeds.

Coffee in hand, I went back to the bedroom to change from my pajamas. The unmade bed beckoned a question. When were these sheets last washed? Better do it while I’m thinking about it.

I recalculated the time factor. Get the sheets started first, then soak the dishes while watering the patio plants. Once the dishes are done, the sheets will be ready for the dryer. Get to the weeds next and the sheets should be done when you return inside. Really, who is better at maximizing every minute? Nobody! I marched to the laundry room to begin the gauntlet.

Three words stopped me in my tracks. Meet with Me.

This Holy Spirit whisper was my stop sign. 

Of all the tasks on my To Do List, the tip-top priority should have been lingering with the Lord. 

Do your priorities ever collide with God's_
Like me, and maybe you, Jesus’s disciples faced a similar problem: identifying their greatest need.

In Luke 22, we read the disciples and Jesus gathered for the Last Supper and, later, in the Garden of Gethsemane. The meal was a remembrance of God’s grace for sparing their lives from the final plague of death and to commemorate their freedom from Egypt. At the Last Supper, Jesus planned to direct them to a new remembrance of him and his sacrificial death.

Luke’s account reveals the competing priorities of the disciples during the course of that meal. These priorities included loyalty, position and greatness, and the identity of the betrayer. When the group moved to the garden of Gethsemane, sleep became the priority over prayer.

What was Jesus’ priority? Remembrance and faith. Jesus, anticipating this meal, this time with them, intensely desired their presence and focus. He knew the disciples’ relationship with and trust in Him would be tested.


Connected
Remain in me and I will remain in you.

John 15:4

Our faith, our trust is being tested. Jesus’ compassionate command to remain in him is a call to anchor ourselves to him. He is our Rock during times of testing. We are known to Him and we have full access to Him. We understand these things, but.... In my case, I let to-do lists’ and competing priorities lure me from Jesus. A subtle, steady drift.

Is it like that for you, too?

I can’t let competing priorities or anything else deter me from trying to get with Jesus. I know full well the enemy wants me restless and distracted and, for that reason, it’s worth any attempt I can muster. My greatest need that day, and every day, is absorbing His Word and settling into His Presence.

Remember this:

Every moment you intentionally seek out God you’re filled with a fresh awakening to his love for you and his power in you.
How do we inject time with Jesus in an already booked schedule? Set an invite to yourself to “Meet with Jesus”. If it’s not scheduled, then it’s probably not going to happen. You live strong by investing in your relationship with God. Keep in mind fleeting interactions won’t sustain you over the long haul. But, when you’re on overload and can’t linger for a session with Jesus, then maybe Take Five is your solution.

Icon Hearts Encouraged  Take Five  Icon Hearts Encouraged

Take Five is a three-part process.

Part 1: List your tasks for the day or week in priority order. Review the list. What are your greatest needs? In other words, what do you need from the Lord in order to be successful in the coming hour or the next eight hours? Is it wisdom, insight, attentiveness, creativity, patience? Document what you need.

Part 2: Take 5-10 minutes with the Lord to:

Acknowledge God’s priority in your life

Proclaim a statement of humbleness

Offer thanksgiving for the previous days provision

Tell the Lord of your greatest needs. Ask Him to be with you and to equip you for the task, the next hour, or the next person.

Part 3: Reflect on the tasks and the outcomes. Did He meet your need? Did you receive something you weren’t expecting? In Part 1 you documented what you needed. Now, you can document what Jesus provided. Reflection is your remembrance of and gratitude for Jesus with you.

I hope you’re encouraged to Take Five throughout your day to connect with the Lord. We would love to know how you take a “time out” to be with God in the midst of the hectic and crazy! Please share your thoughts on the Hearts Encouraged Facebook page (@TerriHutchinsonAuthor). 

References

The Last Supper. http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/what-is-the-meaning-and-importance-of-the-last-supper.aspx#xmLjYbl1q6EVgxWk.99

Henri J.M. Nouwen, Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company , 2003).


The Undercover Perfectionist

Hello and Welcome Everyone!

This month I have the privilege of introducing you to my friend and fellow writer, Leslie Newman. Leslie has a wonderful blog titled Journey to Imperfect. It so happens she is a recovering perfectionist like me! Leslie has a passion for helping us see that we are all different and unique. In her own words, "every person will follow a different path in working through these kinds of issues. But although we have different circumstances, we have the same God and He is all about restoring us and bringing us to completeness through His Son Jesus." Leslie believes prayer is the key to overcoming the barriers that prevent us from becoming exactly who God designed us to be. When you visit her blog, you'll find fantastic posts as well as free resources including a Prayer Notebook, Hope Kits, and more. 

For the month of August, Leslie asked me to write a guest post for her blog because of my extensive experience with perfectionism. Below you'll find the link so you can read the full post there.  Please feel free to share the post with anyone who could use the encouragement to dabble with imperfection! Let Leslie and I know how it resonated with you.  Fondly, Terri

The Undercover perfectionist


If you know the phrase, "Do unto others as you would have them do to you", then you know that it's a call to love others as you would love yourself. But, do you know there's an alternative version of that life mantra? It goes like this, "Do to myself what I would not do to others".
 
As an undercover perfectionist, I employ the latter mantra when I heap unrealistic expectations upon myself that I would not and do not expect of others. You can't see my perfectionism because you're not subject to it. You, my friend, do not have to live up to the high bar of perfection I have set for myself. That bar is for me alone and there's no mercy from me to me when I fail to hit it. What good can come from that?
 
None.
 
I can't thrive when I subject myself to that kind of pressure, striving, and harshness.
 
If the undercover perfectionist wants to challenge their perspective, then three questions should be explored:
 
Who defines perfect?
Why is perfection the wrong goal?
What's the personal impact for the undercover perfectionist?
 
 
 
 

Trust without Boundaries

Hello and Welcome! To set the scene for this topic on boundaries, my focus is on the verse found in Luke 7:39. From the New Living Translation, it reads: When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “if this man [Jesus] were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Keep this in mind as I'll paraphrase this verse later in the post. My hope is you will glean new insights and encouragement!

Boundary markerBack in ancient days, boundary markers were a common and significant sign to anyone who came upon them. These markers were placed by the landowner and designated the boundaries of that land. Moving or removing boundary markers was the equivalent of stealing or theft (Deuteronomy 19:14). As the boundary markers could not be permanently affixed to the ground, respect for the markers was expected.

It was an issue of trust.

We practice this ancient custom in our modern world. Every aspect of our life contains boundaries of some kind whether in sports, business, or personal relationships. A boundary line is established because there is a need. For instance, in sports it has to do with what’s in and what’s out. It’s about the football receiver balancing on tiptoe down the sideline, shifting his weight infield for those ever-precious inches. Or, the Olympic gymnast rapidly tumbling and landing with centimeters to spare at the edge of the mat. It’s about setting limits--go up to the boundary line, but no further. Cross the line and there are consequences.

Tennis court boundaryIn our personal relationships we set invisible boundary lines for ourselves and/or for others. The wounded hearts puts into place boundary lines and markers as a protective measure. These lines mark the foundation upon which impenetrable walls are built. Nothing gets past the boundaries.

Nothing.

And if that’s the case, is it really protection? Or, is it a prison? What exactly sparked the need for these boundary lines?

It’s an issue of trust.

Trust without Boundaries Luke 4.18Jesus was invited to the dinner, but she was not. They labeled her a sinner and the wounds were deep. What drove her to walk in, uninvited, and make a scene? Tears flowed as she knelt to kiss his feet. What did she hope to gain by going there? Acceptance? Healing? Humbly, she poured the oil on his feet. With love she wiped it away with her hair. And the dinner guests watched. They knew who she was and wondered why Jesus did not.

Jesus knew.

He set no boundary line that she could not cross. And, she came to him with a trusting, wounded heart. Jesus met her need and she received salvation, freedom, and peace. (paraphrased from Luke 7:36-49, NIV)

Trust - Take My Heart Lord
There’s no need for boundary lines with Jesus. The day I brought to Him my tears and my wounded heart, I found healing in His presence. That day I rested secure at His feet and found acceptance. The power of Jesus was released creating new boundaries and a secure shelter. My trust in Him and His love for me freed my heart in a way nothing else could. Walls were torn down and markers were no longer required. I found salvation, freedom, and peace. And, so it goes today.

There is wonder and beauty in an intimate relationship with Jesus. It’s like no other. May we be willing to explore the landscape of our heart in search of boundary lines no longer needed. These lines and markers that keep us from Christ-given freedom and peace can be torn down. I was willing and there’s been no regret. There is no need to protect my heart when it’s in the hands of my Savior.

Please share with me how your relationship with Jesus brings wellness and healing to your heart. We’d love to be encouraged with your comments. If you haven’t visited the Hearts Encouraged Facebook page, pop over there and “Like” the page so you can see the occasional Live events that I post and other encouragement.

Fondly, Terri


The Saboteur Within

Have you ever watched someone enthusiastically take a hold of a project or idea and start infusing it with their special talent? I find it very motivating because you can just see the energy bursting forth from their being as they accept the challenge. Do you agree? You may even be one of those beautiful souls. As for me, I choose to stop to consider if I have the talent, the resources, the desire to invest and so on. Those considerations are wise and detrimental. It’s detrimental when it positions me in front of the door leading to self-sabotage. When I walk through that dismal door I’m smack dab in self-judgment, critical assessment, and self-condemnation. These are obstacles preventing me from moving forward and trying the new thing. Crazy, isn’t it?

MasterpieceFor we are God’s masterpiece, He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT

The word “masterpiece” describes something of such high quality that there are very few like it. So, my fellow masterpieces, is that how you see yourself? Are you able to look yourself in the mirror and say aloud with heartfelt conviction, I’m God’s masterpiece? We are not only a masterpiece, but the apostle Paul says there are good things each one of us have been created to do. Those words should be invigorating unless there’s a saboteur lurking inside you. When self sabotage revs ups, courage gets trampled. We miss out when the saboteur gets a say. When I see myself as God’s masterpiece, not yet perfected but a work in process, then I can be bold and courageous.

You have within you special and unique qualities and you get to decide how much of yourself you’ll put out there in the world. You get to choose to share your heart with that other heart God’s placed on your life path. You get to trust that God has given you or will give you exactly what you need for today and for your tomorrows. When we critique our abilities and resources while weighing the situation before us, then we’re moving into the area of self-sabotage. I define self-sabotage this way: condemnation or self-defeating judgment about past performance that is applied to a present opportunity. Too many times I let my inner saboteur talk me out of God assignments, learning new skills, and living new adventures. Who is could be a better judge than me as to my capability? We all know the answer to that question! Take this to heart: as God’s masterpiece, any lesser alternative perception of yourself cannot be more significant than God’s view of you.

EmbersDo not stifle the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 NLT

 We must guard against moving into the territory of stifling or quenching the Spirit within. The Spirit is equated to a fire, a vibrant, active fire in our soul. And just like any fire, it can be reduced to smoldering embers. I smother the Holy Spirit when I discount my worth, my abilities, and my usefulness in God’s kingdom. The verses I provided from 1 Thessalonians and Ephesians are the same verses that awakened me to see my persistent self-judgment and condemnation. But perhaps the most significant verse that impacted me was the one from Luke 6:37-38, Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. The words judge and condemn jumped off the page and pierced my heart, I knew it was no longer acceptable for me to engage in self-defeating judgment and self-condemnation. Previously, I read this verse as applicable to my actions toward others, but that day God wanted me to apply it to how I treated my own heart. What about you? Do you need to treat yourself with a little more kindness and a lot less judgment and condemnation? You and I are called to share our uniqueness with this crazy world. You are God’s beloved, a delight in His eyes and He is your biggest fan! Embrace that truth and quench the inner saboteur. 

SabotageWhen I get into self-sabotage mode, I take two action steps to get me back on track: Thought-Capture Self Check and Power Talk Statements. Power talk is a great heart lift because it's based off of verses from the Bible. Try these out or share these tips with anyone who may be struggling to see themselves as God sees them. We so need to lift each other up and encourage. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’ve read here. Please comment here or post on the Hearts Encouraged FB page. Fondly, Terri

Icon Hearts Encouraged (2) Action Step 1 – Thought-Capture Self Check

This self-check is about listening to your internal dialogue and your external verbalization. Monitor what you’re thinking and saying about yourself. Track specific words or phrases you use. Below are sentence starters and phrases that are often associated with sabotaging statements.

I’ll never…

I can’t…

I’m not…

I’m too…

I’m afraid…

How will I…

But…

God can’t…

God won’t…

What if…

It’s impossible.

It’ll never work.

I’m not sure I can.

Once you’ve started really listening to what you say and think about yourself, your second step is to challenge those statements that fall under the category of condemnation, judgment, self-pity, or devaluing yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit for help and use Bible verses like Romans 8:31-39 (The Message): If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? God can give courage, ability, strength, and the power to reframe your perspective and your thoughts or verbalizations.

Icon Hearts Encouraged (2) Action Step 2 - Power Talk

You need to power talk! It’s food for the heart and soul. You can find plenty of power talk in the Bible. Check out the list below and use these on a daily basis. Be your own champion! Encourage yourself! You’ll find yourself changing how you view yourself and living life better than before.

Power Talk Statements

I can’t wait to see what God will do today.

I choose to be a bold adventurer in my relationship with God.

God has compassion on me.

God has mercy on me.

I have strength to face this day through Jesus.

God’s given me a spirit of power and love.

God delights in me.

God and I will fan into a flame the gifts He has given me to serve.

I can eagerly expect and hope in God.

God calls me to courage.

I am not afraid—God’s presence is with me.

I will have no fear of bad news because I trust in God.

God has the power to do what He promises.

I am not alone, forsaken, nor abandoned.

I am God’s masterpiece and His child.

God’s blessing will enable me to do anything and everything He sets before me.

God knows the plans He has for my life.


Terri's Praise Prayer

Hi and Welcome Friends! Today's post is a supplement to "The Gift of Praise" post I sent on May 13th. In that post, I encouraged everyone to create a Praise Prayer and provided a simple format guide to get you started. Today, I am sharing my Praise Prayer to God so you can see what it contains and how I went about creating it. Please believe me when I say that this Praise Prayer is the real deal! The last two weeks have been incredibly stressful and I was on my knees every morning and night thanking God and asking for more just to get through the next day. This praise prayer is a heartfelt tribute from me to my ever faithful Father and Savior. Much of this praise prayer contains Bible verses that I have paraphrased into my own words. It's interesting how reading a verse is the catalyst to expressing what sometimes feels inexpressible to God. 

Icon Hearts Encouraged (2)When I create a prayer, my choice of the verses depends on what I'm going through. Sometimes a praise prayer will have a more solemn tone because we find ourselves in deep sadness while yet finding the desire to express gratitude to God. Other times, joy is the sole focus of the praise. My praise prayer below expresses my thankfulness that God was with me and supported me as I dug down deep to be courageous and do what I wasn't sure I could. For the purpose of this post, I have included the verses that I used next to the lines of the prayer. After I create these prayers, I use these to help me remember to express gratitude and thanks to God.  Gratitude can get left behind because of time, forgetfulness, other pressing prayers requests that fill our heart. Once you create it, it's ready to use at over and over. If it's heartfelt, then it's a beautiful offering from you to God anytime you pray it.

Icon Hearts Encouraged (2)

I would love it if you would share a line or two from your Praise Prayer or the verses that you feel represent your praise. I'll be posting this on the Hearts Encouraged Facebook Page (@TerriHutchinsonAuthor) so we can share there. Fondly, Terri

  Awe-Praise
Holy Lord, you are the Creator overall things that was and is and will be. Jesus, you are the worthy Lamb, my Savior. Holy Spirit, you are my Counselor.

My heart gives you all honor, glory, reverence, and awe that is due You. Your Presence in my life gives me victory to stand in hard times; Your Help is a shield and fortifies my strength when I feel weak; Your right hand supports, guides, and leads me. (Psalm 18:35)

I am amazed at your tender care of me and Your very nearness to me. When I feel lost You come along side me. Because of that knowledge, I can be courageous with faith and hope (Psalm 31:24). I am never alone just as You promise. (1 Peter 5:6-7; Psalm 31:24)

You graciously support me with wisdom and knowledge. How grateful I am that You hold nothing back when I call on Your name! (Isaiah 33:6; Romans 8:31-32)

You know my heart belongs to you and I know you hold it in the palm of Your hand. Thank you, Heavenly Father for your unfailing love that heals and soothes my tender heart. (John 10:29-30; Psalm 143)